We knew before turning in the night before, there was little reason to be up at the crack of dawn. The boxes would not be loaded for delivery until 10:00, which would put our long awaited first distribution around 1:00 pm.
We made a plan (Plan X) to go into Accra, do a little tourist shopping at the round-about to kill time and continue to wait out the delivery and God’s perfect time.
“Every morning You’ll hear me at it again. Every morning I lay out the pieces of my life...” Ps 5
Our team has developed a certain peace and pace about the way things have worked out. None of us is too anxious, the only thing we have complained about is the late night noise of the air conditioner (our very own resident giant woodpecker), but even the complaints have been good natured and carried more laughter than aggravation.
We knew the day would come, the boxes would finally make it into the hand of the waiting children, and we would be bathed in a sea of smiles and thanksgiving to God. As we traveled the now familiar road back to Accra, we continued to shout out the “signs” for our “SIGN” today was going to be THE day!
“Prayer is the Master Key” was printed on the truck in front of us, and in unison the van said “amen”.
Allan’s cell phone signaled the final AMEN with news the boxes were on their way to the school and we should head to Atheniyae.
“We’re in no hurry God. We’re content to linger in the path sign-posted with Your decisions” Is 26:8
We took a left turn by “God’s Shadow Fashion Salon” and drove up the very steep, rocky rutted dirt road to arrive at the school compound. We were hard to miss. A big silver passenger van, filled with shiny white faces. I’m not sure whose smiles were bigger, theirs or ours.
The children started pouring out of the classrooms, shouting greetings and waving wildly towards the van. The World Vision Director instructed us to drive farther up towards the school buildings, and as we made our final stop – just before reaching two young girls relieving themselves in the middle of the courtyard.
A school serving close to 1500 children had no facilities of any kind. When you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go – and in Ghana, wherever you stand … you can.
We watched where we stepped as we made our way to the first group of gathered children, while the cartons filled with gifts were off-loaded. First we taught them the “Joy, Joy, Joy” song and then a short program, and Allan following up with an invitation.
In everything we do, what is stressed is the “real” gift, the one that will not fade, the one that is eternal. Hundreds of decisions for eternity were made.
I went from the gathered groups of 350 children, tried to hold their interest long enough to give Allan a chance to make his way down for the follow up and tried not to get over-heated in the 100+º heat.
The shoe boxes started getting passed out, the excitement and shouts for joy could be heard from my 100 yard away position, and the children just got happier. They stood patiently in the afternoon sun, wiping their faces with handkerchiefs, watching as we handed out the variety of brightly colored gift boxes. Most of the girls would curtsey and say “Thank you madam”, while the boys would offer a big grin and “thank you’s”.
One young lad approached and offered his hand to Michelle for a shake – but thought better of it and hugged her. A big shout went up from the girl’s section “wooohooo” but both he and Michelle were glad for his brave and loving gesture.
As all the boxes were handed out, the neighborhood arrived. Children from other schools, mother’s with babies, the teachers, all began their earnest petition “Please madam, something for my child, please something for me…”
It is hard to walk away from such great need – even more difficult to face the reality that in spite of good intent, best efforts, or all the money in the world, the need is greater still. Our part is not to meet that with our pity – but to have clarity on the responsibility to share the gift money cannot buy, bring water from the well that never will run dry and to offer food that is life sustenance itself.
It is not indifference to the physical. It is acknowledging the spiritual. The God job. When Jesus left this earth, there were still sick, hungry and dying people in Israel. The population was still oppressed by a cruel dictator and the religious system was a mess.
But when Jesus left that behind He did make the twelve a promise. A promise that 2000 years later is still good in Ghana.
“I go to prepare a place for you that where I am you may be with me also”
As we piled back in the van, hearts full, souls spent and poured out like drink offerings, tears of joy for THE day welled in our eyes. We had seen the “delivery” we had offered “deliverance”.
“To those living in darkness, say to the captives be free…”